Metropolitan Atlanta is 8th in the country for pedestrian deaths, according to Atlanta Magazine. In the decade between 2004 and 2014, this sadly meant the death of over 800 pedestrians walking around Atlanta.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a pedestrian accident, there may be legal options available to you. An Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyer can apply the specific facts and circumstances of your injury to the applicable laws regarding pedestrian accidents.
Atlanta Pedestrian Accident Laws
In Atlanta, the most common way to recover your damages from a pedestrian accident is under a theory of negligence. Under a theory of negligence, the injured pedestrian is arguing the reckless or careless actions of a driver caused the accident. Here are the elements of a negligence claim and how they apply to pedestrian accidents.
First, the pedestrian must prove the driver owed the pedestrian a duty of care. This is a simple element to prove when it comes to pedestrian accidents. Whenever a driver gets behind the wheel of a vehicle they must act as a reasonable person would. This typically includes obeying the traffic laws and paying attention to the road but can also include other types of behavior such as slowing down during inclement weather or in pedestrian areas.
Next, the pedestrian must prove the driver breached this duty of care. Simply, the pedestrian must point to some action or inaction by the driver that fell below the behavior expected of a reasonable person. A driver may breach their duty of care by disobeying the traffic laws, not paying attention to the road, or not slowing down in traffic or in pedestrian-heavy areas.
Lastly, the pedestrian must prove the driver’s breach of their duty of care caused the pedestrian accident. This is a relatively uncomplicated legal concept – the pedestrian may not point to an inconsequential violation of the traffic code twenty minutes before the pedestrian accident and recoup their damages.
The easiest way to satisfy this legal requirement is to use a but-for causation standard. If the accidents would not occur but for the driver’s unreasonable or negligent actions, then the breach of the duty caused the pedestrian accident.
Proving Negligence and Liability
Sometimes in pedestrian accidents, multiple drivers are at fault. In situations where more than one person is at fault for a pedestrian accident, Atlanta law follows a comparative negligence approach which assigns a percentage of the blame for the pedestrian accident to each party, including the pedestrian if they are at fault.
Under Section 51-12-33 of the Georgia Code, each person may then be responsible for the percentage of damages equivalent to their percentage of blame. Notably, if the pedestrian is more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, then they may not be able to recover anything from negligent drivers under Atlanta modified comparative negligence laws.
Talk to an Atlanta Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today
Importantly, negligence claims have a very short statute of limitations in Atlanta. Under Section 9-3-33 of the Georgia Code, someone must file a pedestrian accident claim in an Atlanta court within two years of the accident. Because of this short time period, it is important to contact an Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyer soon to learn more about your legal options after an accident.
A skillful attorney can review the facts of your case and advise you on of your legal options. If you choose to move forward with a claim, they can advocate for you every step of the way. Call today for a free consultation.